Use an example to critically examine kung fu as a global popular culture. Everybody was kung fu fighting

Essay by evanslim April 2004

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The first genre before kung fu was the wu xia pian (hero films), which originated in the 1920s. In these films, the heroes possessed supernatural martial arts skills. They could control weapons with their minds, fly and shoot "death rays" from their palms. It wasn't until the late 1960s, with the films known as gung-fu pian (kung fu films), that the fighting skills of the main character became more realistic and the fights themselves more believable. In the 1970s, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan pushed kung fu films to its limits. To examine how kung fu has gone from a Hong Kong culture to become a global popular culture through these two international acclaimed kung fu actors that have made an impact on the world with their style and brand of kung fu on action cinema. I will also be looking at how kung fu had influenced the Hollywood film industry.

Bruce Lee

Before Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal, there was Bruce Lee. He was one of the most influential martial artist and actor of the twentieth century. Being a Chinese born in San Francisco, he was a hybrid between the east and the west. "'Chineseness' as identity is represented by hybrid entities."

In 1959, Bruce Lee traveled from Hong Kong back to America and declared himself to be John Wayne or James Dean. At that time, America still have the stereotypical notion where the Chinese were still view as meek house servants and they didn't pay much attention to them. Little did they know that this American born Chinese will be taking over the world by storm through something he called kung fu.

Bruce Lee's body was of pure muscular power. His threatening stare and arrogant pointed finger was the redeemer, not only...